Math doesn’t have to be a painful childhood memory. Read this book instead.

I, like many people, have said, “I’m not good at math” as a pre-emptive or defensive measure when we suspect an impending math problem or discussion.

It’s too bad, because math is humanity’s greatest tool for understanding the world around us.I blame the school system for this problem, because it generally abstracts mathematics into irrelevance and test scores, and consequently cultivates a fixed mindset society that\’s allergic to math. However, because I find the subject so valuable, I took responsibility for learning about it through the book The Grapes of Wrath by Alex Bellos.

Bellos frames mathematics in several different ways, all which help the casual reader think differently about math and life. It\’s one of those books that simultaneously helps you escape your life (because when will your teacher or boss require you to explain the imaginary axis to them?) and engage your life with new clarity of the beauty and complexity of numbers.Here are some of my quotes and notes to give you a taste of Bellos’s Grapes (ew that sounded better in my head):

“Mathematics is a joke”

Math is the most impressive and longest-running collective enterprise in human history”
“In business, as in religion, a good number is fundamental”
“The behavior of words, cities and countries appears to conform to a universal law”
How do you know when the best time is to sell your stocks or settle down with a partner? Math can help with that”
[The Mandelbrot set] showed that you could produce limitless complexity from a simple rule”
“One should never draw a conclusion from a limited number of observations, no matter how promising it seems”
“It follows that any solid object can be cut up and reassembled into any other object, so a pea could be turned into the sun”

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